6 Common Baby Genital Problems

If something doesn't seem quite right in your baby's diaper area, consult our guide.
whats going on down there

Shannon Greer

A few weeks after our son was born, my husband finally posed the question he'd been burning to ask: "Is it big?" It being our baby's penis, of course. I'd never thought about what other newborn boys look like. So off to Google he went to search "newborn's penis size"!

Considering all the time parents spend tending to their baby's private parts during diaper changes and baths, it's understandable to wonder whether everything is normal, says Victoria Rogers McEvoy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Although things usually check out okay, sometimes there are problems. We asked experts for the lowdown on the most common genital issues that affect babies (btw, penis size is not one of them).

Undescended Testicles

What they are: The testicles develop in a boy's abdomen and descend into the scrotum in the last few weeks before birth or shortly after birth. Sometimes, though, one or both of them don't fall into place and are known as "undescended testicles." Other times they might descend, but the inguinal canal (the passageway between the abdomen and groin that exists in both boys and girls) doesn't fully close and the testicles continue to move back and forth between the abdomen and scrotum -- a condition called retractile testicles, explains William Reiner, M.D., professor of pediatric urology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, in Oklahoma City. An undescended testicle occurs in nearly one in 100 boys at birth and is more common in preterm boys.

What to do: In most cases, testicles move into place within six to 12 months of birth, Dr. Reiner says. If they don't, your pediatrician may suggest hormone therapy or simple surgery.

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